Q&A with Laura from The Pregnancy Food Company
In a teeny tiny kitchen in the heart of Dorset, Laura-Jane decided to combine her nutrition qualifications with her culinary experience to create something delicious and nutritious. A food product that could help women to feel good about snacking during preconception, pregnancy and post partum.
She saw countless friends, colleagues and acquaintances struggle with hunger, tiredness, lack of time, and misleading products. She decided it was time to create an honest, organic, nutritious and tasteful snack, designed specifically for women who are thinking of having a baby, or who have already started their exciting journey.
Laura-Jane spent months researching and creating the perfect snack with the help of leading nutritionist Daphne Lambert at Greencuisine Trust.
The Pregnancy Food Company kitchen is continuing to create food and drink for preconception, pregnancy and beyond to complement our current range.
Here at Mamabox, when selecting our partner's we try to ensure that the products are fun, practical, luxurious and ethical - but most importantly something that parents will really want to use and enjoy. We love Laura's philosophy as it is so similar to our own "Today's society is SO focused on baby. We are trying to bring back the focus on another important one - mama! You are the one that conceives, grows, and cares for your baby and we need to take care of mama so she can take care of her baby."
With Mamabox now officially including a number of TPFC treats in the pregnancy and post-partum boxes, we decided to catch up with Laura to learn more about the company and glean some key nutrition related hints and tips for this demanding physical period of change.
Laura, tell us a bit about yourself and why you started the PFC?
Well, I always dreamed of being a midwife - I loved the idea of helping to look after a woman through such a transformative time. But the practicalities of night shifts, and the fact that I don't really like hospitals (!) put that idea on the back burner. I then became very interested in nutrition, becoming qualified in it was a real joy - and I decided to combine both passions into one business. This way I still get to help women, bake healthy treats, and learn more on nutrition everyday - it blows my mind!
Why do you feel nutrition is so important during pregnancy (as well as pre-conception and post-partum)? Is it not just about upping your calories?? :)
I could talk for hours about this. The age old saying 'you are what you eat' is proving to be so much more scientifically true than we ever imagined, and when a woman is pregnant, her baby will be a direct product of what she has eaten whilst baby is in the womb. Eating well can give baby the best possible start in life, whereas a poor diet can lead to baby being predisposed to an array of health problems - heart disease, diabetes, childhood cancer and so on. I don't say this to scare people, but I really think we all need to know how important diet is.
Good nutrition from three months prior to conception is ideal, to help mum feel better throughout her pregnancy, and recover quicker from birth. The post-partum period is an essential time for good nutrition, the body is trying to heal, if breastfeeding it's also trying to produce milk, existing on very little sleep, and trying to deal with an enormous mental adaptation. A good diet will support mum through the most important journey she will ever take.
Can you share some key tips for eating well during these periods?
Most women are pretty savvy on what they need to avoid during pregnancy (swordfish, soft cheese, cold meats etc) so we like to focus on what is good to eat! Here are our top tips...
- If you are able to, try to buy organic. They have been proven to have higher amounts of nutrients, and contain far fewer chemicals.
- Water, water, water. No essential chemical reactions can take place in the body without H20. It can also help in preparation for labour, and of course in breastmilk production.
- Avoid plastic where you can.
- Include the rainbow of fruit and veggies, aim for around 5 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit per day
- Include protein with every meal, this doesn't have to always be meat! Lentils, nuts and seeds are also a good source.
- I know it's so hard during pregnancy, but really try to cut out refined sugar, white carbohydrates, fizzy drinks and sweets. The placenta has no protection against baby receiving all that sugar.
- Get wholesome carbohydrates from sweet potatoes, wholegrain bread, pasta and rice.
- Include fat, protein and carbohydrates at every meal.
- Lastly, enjoy your food! Eat to nourish yours and your baby's body.
What are your plans for the PFC in the future, any plans for new products?
We're hoping to take our popular online nutrition manual worldwide - we're already in talks with someone in the U.S, next step all other English speaking countries! All being well we can then have it translated into other languages. We've also recently joined 'Mamahood & Me' which provides 6 online guides from sleep, to hypnobirthing, breastfeeding - and of course, our nutrition manual.
We do have some plans for some lovely new food products too, but I better keep those a secret for now...
Send a 'Heal Me, Mama' or 'Pamper Me, Mama to Be' box featuring freshly baked Mummanutta cookies in November and enjoy complimentary shipping using code NOVFREE at checkout - www.mamabox.co.uk
Planning on another baby? See below for more valuable insights from Laura.....
'I’ve done it all before - the pregnancy, the birth, the newborn stage - so I just do it all again right?' Exactly the same as last time (well, maybe with a few learned lessons and not quite so much worry) but this time I don’t have to read up on every stage, every appointment - heck, do I really need to avoid soft cheese and seafood?
You may be totally au fait with the process, and it’s nice to feel more comfortable with it this time around.
But where your nutrition is concerned, this really is no time to rest on your laurels.
Sorry to say it ladies, but you’re going to need to be even more invested in your health for your subsequent pregnancies. Yes, our bodies were designed to reproduce, but mother nature really doesn’t have much time for you once you have procreated. She only cares about the next generation - she’s a little ruthless like that. It means that she’s designed your body to give everything to your offspring, and most likely leave you feeling exhausted, depleted of nutrients, and quite frankly pretty close to having an emotional breakdown any time half your biscuit falls into your cup of tea.
The thing is - it’s actually a pretty serious topic. ‘Maternal Depletion Syndrome’ is a real condition, and although it was originally used to describe women’s nutrient status in developing countries, it’s something we need to be aware of. Pregnancy takes it’s toll on your body; you’ve grown an entire human being from start to finish and if you’ve breastfed or are continuing to breastfeed, your body will still be putting your baby’ needs before your own. Women who have conceived less than 18 months after the birth of their previous child are most at risk of nutrient deficiencies.
If you are breastfeeding, it may be a good idea to consider your plans for feeding moving forward a few months before trying to begin the process of conceiving your next baby, as mother nature will be prioritising your current baby and new baby in utero may miss out on full nourishment. Breastfeeding can also act as a contraceptive (although not a very reliable one!) so you may find that you simply cannot become pregnant again whilst breastfeeding - again, this is mother natures way of trying to prevent another pregnancy whilst nutrients are being directed towards current breastfed baby.
So, what can be done? Leaving a minimum of 18-24 months between birth and conception allows time for your nutrient stores to rebuild and therefore give the best possible nourishment to your next baby and just as importantly - you! Ideally you’d be eating really well for at least three months before conceiving again, and then throughout the course of your pregnancy. Not only does optimal maternal nutrition lower the chances of your offspring developing diabetes, heart disease, degenerative diseases and childhood cancers, it will also help you tackle the gargantuan task of having multiple little ones, with more energy, more emotional stability and positivity.
Too often our own wellbeing is sacrificed for our family’s needs, but the fact of the matter is, without a happy and healthy mama - baby wont be as happy or healthy as he could be either. You are the important one, and it’s time to invest in a bit of self love, self nourishment, and self care.
For more help and guidance have a look at The Pregnancy Food Company’s online nutrition manual - on sale for £8 at www.thepregnancyfoodcompany.co.uk/theguide